The University of Texas at Dallas is home to more than 4,500 international students from more than 100 countries.
UT Dallas Gets Marks for International Student Presence
The University of Texas at Dallas has been ranked among the top 25 colleges and universities in the U.S. with an international student population of 5,000 or more. The University ranked 23rd – just behind the University of Texas at Austin (21) and just ahead of Texas A&M (24) – in an annual report released in November by the Institute of International Education (IIE) in partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
The Open Doors report is based on a 2012-13 survey of 3,000 colleges and universities in the nation.
That year, UT Dallas had 5,193 international students, an increase of 19 percent from 2011-12, said Cristen Casey, director of International Student Services. About 4,172 were enrolled in classes and another 1,021 remained affiliated with UT Dallas while authorized for Optional Practical Training, an employment benefit.
“We are committed to having a global presence,” Casey said. “Not every student at UT Dallas can travel to other countries, so having international students on campus provides opportunities to learn about the world, to interact with others and to become a global citizen. Our international students have had an enormous impact on our campus.”
More than 819,600 international students are enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities, an increase of about 40 percent more than a decade ago, according to the report. Students from China, India and South Korea represent nearly half of them.
At UT Dallas, the international student population has grown 141 percent since 2009, mostly from China, India and South Korea, with strong showings from Taiwan and Vietnam, Casey said. Rounding out the top 10 countries represented on campus are Mexico, Iran, Turkey, Bangladesh and Nepal.
“We have had a strong increase in students from China – 372 percent over the last five years. That’s really significant,” Casey said.
International students are drawn to the University’s reputation for academic excellence in the STEM fields and in the Naveen Jindal School of Management, Casey said.
Most international students at UT Dallas are enrolled in the Naveen Jindal School of Management and the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science. Top majors include computer science, engineering, accounting, finance, business administration, information science and supply chain management.
Fall enrollment this year at UT Dallas includes about 4,860 international students from more than 100 countries who are taking classes. They make up 23 percent, or nearly a fourth, of the University’s overall student population.
Among them is Huilin “Ben” Luo, a graduate student in accounting who was working in China when he decided to pursue a master’s degree in the U.S. because “America has the best higher education, and it’s always exciting to learn about another culture.”
He knew that UT Dallas had a “culture of diversity,” and that there were already a lot of Chinese students here from whom he could get help, if needed. He will graduate in May 2014.
Peer and institutional support is critical in making a successful transition to American culture and educational institutions, international students say.
The International Student Services Office at UT Dallas provides programs, advising and resources to help students adjust to American culture and institutions, including conversational sessions that give students a chance to practice their English, cultural trips in the area, and partnering with community leaders to provide seminars on topics like health insurance, safety and tax compliance.
But participation in international student groups and informal conversations with peers from their own countries also makes a big difference, said Sakshi Yadav, a graduate student in health care management from India.
“I was looking for universities that are booming in the health care fields, and Dallas is a good market for the health care sector. I could see that UT Dallas’ business school was among the top,” Yadav said. “But being in conversation on Facebook with Indian students has been very helpful to me. And the Indian Student Association here – that has made me feel at home.”
The Open Doors report also tracks how many students from the U.S. study abroad, and found that in 2012-13, the percentage rose by three percent.
Dr. Rodolfo Hernandez, director of the Office of International Education, said UT Dallas offers a range of overseas experiences to help prepare students for a global marketplace. They include faculty-led experiences, study abroad programs, independent studies and internships. His staff sets up the processes and provides guidance for students who opt to study overseas.
Last year, 419 UT Dallas students participated in international education programs in 49 countries. The most popular destinations were Germany, China, Czech Republic, Hungary and South Korea.
That can change from year to year, as academic departments may focus on different destinations, Hernandez said. During 2011-12, for instance, the five most popular destinations were Spain, China, South Korea, Canada, Germany and India.
“This shift enhances the geographic diversity of our international programs,” Hernandez said. “During my tenure here I have seen a shift from Western Europe to Asia, while Latin America remains a strong emerging regional destination for UT Dallas students.”
Hernandez said some academic deans have been encouraging students to pursue less conventional destinations, such as Cuba or Uruguay.
IIE has conducted an annual statistical survey of campuses regarding the international students in the U.S. since 1919, and with support from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs since the early 1970s.